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Europe’s membership association for cancer researchers

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In memory of Professor Ken Harrap

We were saddened to hear that Professor Ken Harrap, a pioneer in cancer research and treatment, passed away on 09 February 2017 at the age of 85. 

Prof. Harrap had an enormous impact on the clinical applications of cancer research through a career spanning over 40 years and has been an EACR member since 1999. In 1956 he joined the ICR in London where he would later become Chairman of the Drug Development Section (now the CRUK Cancer Therapeutics Unit) in 1982.

His research focused on cytotoxic anticancer agents, specifically DNA damaging agents and antimetabolites. He will be remembered for promoting collaboration and partnerships with industry that led to the discovery and development of the platinum-based drug carboplatin, which has impacted tremendously clinical research since the mid-1980s. His team have further developed platinum drugs such as satraplatin and picoplatin.  

Collaboration with the company now known as AstraZeneca enhanced his other research focus on inhibitors of folate metabolism and led to the discover of the thymidylate synthase inhibitor raltitrexed, approved in the mid-1990s as a useful alternative to 5-fluorouracil for colorectal cancer.

By the time he retired, Ken had seven cancer drugs in full clinical development. His legacy through his team, collaborators and drugs will long continue the improvement of cancer treatments.

Find out more in the ICR article

23 Feb 2017

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In memory of Professor Ken Harrap

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